Call Committee Members: Sarah Tucker, Amy Finley, Curt Chowanic, Dirk Beamer, Kelle Shepherd-Bhavsar, Tuesday Williams, and Wally Bishop. To find out more about Hope's Call Committee members or to email the group, click here.
Dear Hope community,
We bring to you the most joyful update. After many months of diligent work, careful discernment, and abundant prayer, the members of the Call Committee made the unanimous decision to recommend a candidate for Senior Pastor to Hope’s Strategic Planning Council (SPC). Recently, SPC met to receive and review the recommendation and voted unanimously to present this candidate to you, the members of Hope Lutheran Church.
Pastor Kristin Swenson comes to us from a unique bi-vocational call as both an ELCA Pastor and a Chaplain in the United States Air Force. A graduate of Luther Seminary, Pastor Swenson spent her first years in ministry as a pastor in Eau Claire, Wisconsin before answering the call to serve her country and her fellow airmen as a Military Chaplain. Her most recent assignment brought her to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio as Branch Chief/Chaplain.
Pastor Swenson’s service in the Air Force, as you might imagine, has taken her ministry to multiple states and countries around the world. As military chaplain she provides preaching, teaching, and pastoral care as well as spiritual support for not just Lutherans, but all military members and their families regardless of faith background.
Feeling led to return to parish ministry, Pastor Swenson sought a call where she could serve as part of a dynamic ministry team in a faith community deeply committed to ministering to ALL people. At the same time, we the people of Hope, embarked on the journey to call a Senior Pastor who has not only exceptional ministry skills and experience, and also our same shared values. We truly marvel at the work of the Holy Spirit in this process.
Pastor Kristin Swenson will join us for a visit at Hope to meet the staff, tour the community, preach and preside at Sunday services (both in-person and online), and meet and greet with members after service on Sunday, October 9th, 2022 followed by a 12:30 PM Special Congregational Meeting where a vote will be held to extend a formal call. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.
Lastly, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the entire Hope community. Throughout this process you have journeyed with us, advised us, discerned with us, hoped with us, and prayed with us. And together, we stand ready to answer God’s call to the next phase of ministry here at Hope Lutheran Church.
President, Strategic Planning Council (SPC)
Sent of behalf of SPC and the Call Committee
Over the past few weeks, the Call Committee completed first interviews with four candidates for the position of senior pastor. Candidates were both male and female, from in state and out of state. The Call Committee is in the process of reviewing online sermons, discussing the strengths of each candidate and will be deciding when and/or if second interviews from any or all of the candidates are necessary. The Call Committee is in frequent contact with Bishop Don Kreiss and working closely with the Southeast Michigan Synod to ensure we find the right candidate for Hope in the most expeditious manner.
As a reminder, the Call Committee seeks candidates by any means possible, including by suggestions from members of Hope. We encourage you to reach out to your networks, to friends, family, colleagues etc. around the state and country and ask if they know of anyone who might be a good fit for Hope. This link will take you to a google form where you can provide name suggestions to the Call Committee. You can also reach out to any Call Committee member directly.
Hope's Ministry Site Profile has been uploaded to the ELCA database and is now viewable by any rostered leader in the ELCA who is seeking a call. This document was completed with the input and feedback from members who responded to the email surveys and attended the two discernment sessions. On behalf of the Call Committee, I would like to thank everyone who participated in these engagement opportunities as well as shared thoughts and feedback in other ways. This feedback ensured that the Call Committee had ample information and data to work from when drafting this document.
While the Call Committee has complete confidence in our MSP, we also endeavor to seek candidates by any means possible, including by suggestions from members here at Hope. We encourage you to reach out to your networks, to friends, family, colleagues etc. around the state and country and simply ask if they know of anyone who might be a good fit for Hope. This link will take you to a google form where you can provide name suggestions to the Call Committee. You can also reach out to any Call Committee member directly.
Thanks to everyone who joined our listening sessions on March 13th and March 15th. We received some great feedback! If you didn’t get a chance to participate, always feel free to reach out to any member of the Call Committee to ask questions or share concerns.
The Call Committee met this past Tuesday to discuss input we received from the listening sessions and to determine how best to incorporate that information into Hope’s Ministry Site Profile, which should go “live” in the next few weeks. The Committee also discussed potential options to expand Hope’s search for the best available candidate beyond traditional pastoral search methods. While we are not yet formally screening candidates, members of the Committee have begun to review available online content regarding potential candidates recommended by friends and members of Hope.
The Committee meets again in two weeks. Deacon Keith will join us at the meeting to share feedback he has received from the Congregation about the call process and members’ aspirations for Hope’s next Senior Pastor.
Wishing everyone a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter! Hope to see you at church!
Hope Lutheran Church
Happy Wednesday Hope,
On behalf of Hope's Strategic Planning Council (SPC), I am pleased to share with you some exciting news. We have an interim minister starting at Hope this week who will provide some much needed support to both staff and the congregation during these next months of transition.
Deacon Keith Miller comes to us from Good Hope Lutheran Church in Garden City, Michigan where he served as their sole pastoral presence for the last four years. Keith's name may sound familiar to some of you as he and his wife, Susan were members here at Hope for many years. After Keith completed his Diaconal Ministry studies through an affiliation with Trinity Lutheran Seminary, he celebrated his ordination right here at Hope!
We feel blessed to have Deacon Keith as part of our church community once again and to be able to benefit from the numerous gifts and talents he brings. Deacon Keith will be at church this Sunday and is looking forward to getting to know and reacquainting with members of the congregation.
Deacon Keith's bio, photo and Hope email address will be added to the website in the coming week. Please keep Deacon Keith in your prayers as he begins his next phase in ministry here at Hope Lutheran Church.
Grace and peace to you.
Happy Friday Hope!
Just a quick reminder, the Call Committee is hosting an in person listening session on Sunday, March 13th at 10:00am, between the 9:00am & 11:00am services. At this session, we'll be leading discussions about three reflective questions:
- What key issues or concerns of our church and society are reflected in the ministry here at Hope Lutheran Church?
- In what ways is the membership of our congregation similar or different from the people of Southeast Michigan? Are we where we want to be?
- Identify the three most significant or formative events in the history of our congregation and how does that matter to our future?
If you can't make it to the in person session, we will also be hosting the same exercise via Zoom on March 15th at 7:30pm. The link for this session will be sent out Monday via email.
If you prefer to reflect and share your thoughts privately, we have also created a fillable form with the same questions. >> Click here
We look forward to visioning with you!
Good Morning Hope,
I’m pleased to announce that this week Hope’s Strategic Planning Council (SPC) unanimously voted to appoint the Call Committee who will be tasked with leading the search for our next Lead Pastor. Graciously answering the call to serve on this important committee are Dirk Beamer, Curt Chowanic, Kelle Shepherd-Bhavsar, and Wally Bishop as well as Amy Finley as Director of Leadership, Tuesday Williams as Chair of the Personnel Committee and myself (Sarah Tucker) as SPC President who will also serve on the Call Committee as outlined in our constitution.
There will be more information in the coming weeks about each of the committee members and more opportunities to engage with the call process will be forthcoming ... so stay tuned!
Please pray for these faithful servants as they prepare for the journey ahead.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jerimiah 29:11
Sarah Tucker, SPC President
Good afternoon Hope community,
On Tuesday evening, members of the Personnel Committee and Strategic Planning Council (SPC) met with Bishop Don Kriess, Presiding Bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod. While planning for a beloved pastor’s departure is heavy, we came away from this meeting feeling both encouraged and hopeful for the journey ahead.
The “Call Process”, the method by which ELCA Lutheran churches select (call) rostered leaders, is more than just interviewing and selecting candidates. Through this process churches enter into a period of discernment, looking inward, seeking consensus on the church’s identity, mission, values, and goals. This process will offer many opportunities for Hope members to engage and participate. The first of many of these opportunities (we’re starting with an easy one!) is a three-question survey, which you can find here. I encourage you to take a moment this week and share your thoughts.
The SPC is in the process of forming the Call Committee. Hope’s constitution outlines the Call Committee makeup as the Congregation President, Director of Leadership, Personnel Committee chair, and four at-large members, bringing the total to seven. This committee will be tasked with completing a Ministry Site Profile, reviewing Rostered Leader Profiles (like a resume and bio in one), interviewing candidates and finally making a recommendation to the congregation.
Lastly, Pastor Rob’s final Sunday at Hope will be March 6 . A farewell sendoff for Pastor Rob and the Zahn family is in the planning stages, more details on this to follow. If you would like to get involved with planning this gathering, please contact Stephanie Herrle.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for more opportunities to engage and get involved in this exciting process. And please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and other leaders here at Hope.
Sarah Tucker, SPC President